Characteristics of High End Rugs
If you have ever shopped for luxury, investment or high end rugs, you likely know that they can fetch a substantial price. Even relatively affordable exclusive rugs are in a completely different league from mass-produced commercial carpets. However, unless you are familiar with the world of rugs, you may not fully understand the characteristics that make certain rugs expensive while other not so much. Finding the perfect rugs can potentially make the expense more than worthwhile. These top-quality rugs are not as common and therefore they are far more unique and as a bonus, they also tend to hold their worth over time. However, just because there is a big price tag on a rug, doesn’t mean it is high end!
These six characteristics will help you better understand the world of high end rugs:
High End Rugs are Works of Art
This is arguably the most important characteristic of high end rugs. That said, it is also the most subjective. The most expensive rugs are always more than just mere floor coverings. In fact, many luxury rugs are hung in displays rather than used as area rugs.
It is impossible to describe what makes a rug a work of art because it is inherently in the eye of the beholder. However, it is important to understand that many valuable rugs transcend their medium and are appreciated being “beautiful rugs” in much the same way a beautiful painting or iconic sculpture may be.
High End Rugs are Hand-Woven
This characteristic is a little easier to understand. Rugs can be made in one of three broadly defined manners: machine-made, hand-woven or hand-tufted. Machine-produced rugs are, as the name implies, made with a machine. They are often mass-produced and typically not considered to be of great worth. Hand-woven creations require an immense amount of time and skill as the artisan ties each and every one of the rug knots by hand.
Hand-tufted work involves punching strands of material into a canvas. This method is significantly easier and pieces made with this method are prized less than the hand woven products. Talk to the seller to understand how the rug was made. Also, spend some time on your own due diligence to determine the provenance of the rug. Sadly, some carpet dealers attempt to pass off inauthentic rugs as being hand-woven.
High End Rugs Have Appropriate Pile Length
Different rug styles have different pile lengths. Typically, “the best rugs” are those that are unusually fine and therefore have relatively short piles. This is because hand-weaving extremely intricate and complex patterns requires a lot more knots per inch than bolder large scale designs. Since the detailing of the design work is so refined, the rug weavers would need to shear the rug very low to be able to see a clear rendering (if they leave the pile too high, the wool would open up and create a fuzzy look where some if the patterns are not even visibly).
As with other technical characteristics of high end rugs, the value of pile length largely corresponds to how challenging the rug was to produce. More difficult rugs require greater mastery of the art. Of course, as with other artistic media, this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it is a helpful heuristic.
***Please note that while finer rugs are considered to be “better” by some standards, many of the more high end decorative rugs will not have a fine weave.
Era-Correct Age of High End Rugs
Every era of rug making features unique characteristics. Sometimes these characteristics are copied in later years to imitate the style of an older rug. Typically, older and early rugs are more valuable if they are in good condition. Additionally, era-correct rugs are also precious. Of course, sometimes an older style may be copied for clearly artistic reasons.
However, be wary of rug makers trying to simply replicate an older style and pass it off as being from that era. When spending a considerable amount, you may want to think about having an expert appraise the rug. The large investment necessary to purchase a high end rug makes getting help worthwhile.
High End Rugs Use Top-Quality Materials
It is likely no surprise that rugs made from natural materials such as pure wool or silk are more valuable than those made with synthetic materials like viscose. Of course, even within those categories, there is plenty of variability. For example, some wools, such as merino, angora or cashmere, are softer, more luxurious and more sought after than others.
Try feeling the rug. Those made with natural, high end materials and good-quality dyes will tend to feel much softer than lower quality woven rugs. Also, notice whether the design is distinct and clear. This indicates that the artisan not only used quality materials, but was also adept at weaving.
High End Rugs Use Natural Dyes or No Dyes
There are two major types of dyes used on rugs: chemical-based, and vegetable and other natural dyes. Some (not all) chemical-based dyes are generally considered undesirable because they tend to degrade the materials. These are typically only used on lower-quality rugs. Vegetable-based dyes are preferable but are difficult to work with. Many of these rugs are only produced by master weavers.
Other natural dyes made from minerals or invertebrates are also highly sought after. In some cases, rugs are made without any dye at all. If an artisan is able to produce a beautiful design without the use of dyes, the rug is likely to be quite valuable.
Another important quality to check is how colorfast the dyes are. Dab the rug with a damp cloth or paper. On high end rugs, the colors will not come off on the cloth.
Beautiful, High End Rugs
At Nazmiyal Collection, we have a broad selection of high end and luxury rugs. Our collection spans antique, vintage and modern designs. All our rugs are carefully sourced with known provenances. Explore our collection of high end rugs and find something that matches your needs. Whether you want an investment rug or something to display in your home, we can help you find it.